Can I Sue if Involved in a Subway Accident?350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 6705
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Public transportation is necessary to get around in big and busy cities such as New York. While subways and trains are generally safe, accidents can happen on crowded platforms and stations or when riding the trains. If you or a loved one suffered harm while on public transportation, you might wonder, “Can I sue if involved in a subway accident?”
Generally, if the accident was avoidable and happened due to the carelessness of the public transit authority or another party, you could pursue compensation. However, getting what you deserve could be challenging as most subway operators are public entities. Suing the local government can entail numerous additional administrative hurdles, short deadlines, and other complexities.
If you got hurt in a subway accident, get America’s largest personal injury law firm on your side. Our dedicated subway accident attorneys can walk you through your options, file a claim on your behalf, and fight for maximum compensation. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation now.
Types and Causes of Subway Accidents
While subway train crashes do happen once in a while, many more subway accidents occur due to hazardous conditions in crowded stations and trains. Some of the more common accidents that could lead to lawsuits include:
Slips and Falls
When we hear of subway accidents, our minds turn to major catastrophes such as train derailments, tunnel fires, or collisions. However, daily accidents occurring on the subway are often much less spectacular. Subway riders may suffer slips and falls due to hazardous conditions in stations, platforms, and trains. While some slips and falls can be harmless, others could lead to horrific injuries and deaths. Subway falls can occur due to:
- Significant gaps between platforms and trains
- Missing handrails in stations and on trains
- Wet and slippery floors and stairs
- Uneven surfaces and trash cluttering walkways
- Poor lighting in stations and on platforms
- Malfunctioning elevators and escalators
- Faulty turnstiles
Subway authorities in New York City and elsewhere in the country are responsible for maintaining stations and trains in a reasonably safe condition. If they fail to do so, passengers who get hurt could have legal recourse and may qualify for compensation. If you or a loved one slipped and fell on a train or in a subway station, Morgan & Morgan can advise you on your options for recovery.
Catastrophic Train Accidents
While severe subway train accidents are rare, when they do happen, they can be horrific. Train collisions, derailments, underground fires, and other catastrophic accidents can cause fatalities and often have devastating physical and emotional impacts on survivors. Major subway accidents can occur for various reasons, including:
- Poorly maintained and serviced trains
- Broken rails
- Signal failure
- Driver negligence
- Brake defects
If an accident happened due to negligence of an employee, subway authority, contractor, or another party, victims and their families could be entitled to compensation.
Dark and deserted subway stations and near-empty trains can be frightening and dangerous, particularly in the early hours of the morning and late at night. According to the New York Post, subway crimes have soared in early 2022 compared to the previous year. In early 2022, robberies were up by a staggering 72 percent, assaults increased by almost 30 percent, and rapes doubled.
While the transit authority in the city has pledged to install security cameras on trains, for victims, these steps come too little and too late. However, if you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a violent crime on the subway, you could have a case against the transport authority and seek compensation. Incidents due to negligent security in the subway can include:
- Violent robberies
- Sexual assaults
Injuries in Subway Accidents
Derailments, tunnel fires, and train collisions can cause catastrophic injuries such as burns, crush injuries, and loss of limbs. However, even a nasty fall can have lasting consequences for a victim. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries among the 65s and over age group.
Common injuries in subway accidents and crimes can include:
- Broken bones
- Head and brain injuries
- Internal injuries
- Facial and dental injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Stab and gunshot wounds
- Emotional trauma
Victims of accidents or assaults on the subway may be permanently impaired and face steep and ongoing medical costs for their physical and emotional injuries.
You Could Sue If Involved in a Subway Accident
If you suffered injuries and other damages in an avoidable accident or incident due to the carelessness of the transport authority or another party, you could sue and seek damages. However, you will have to prove that the subway operator or employees acted negligently in causing your injuries. Examples of operator or employee negligence can include but are not limited to:
- Failure of equipment
- Lack of driver training
- Impaired drivers
- Poor maintenance of trains, tracks, and stations
- Dangerous conditions in trains and stations
- Signal defects
- Failure to install adequate security measures
Proving a Subway Accident Claim
Proving a subway accident claim and holding an operator or another party accountable can be challenging. To have a case, the following four elements of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit must apply:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care, such as providing safe public transit
- They breached their duty
- The breach caused your injury or the death of your loved one
- There are damages such as healthcare bills, loss of wages, or others
Suing a Government Entity Can Be Challenging
Most subway operators are public entities, which complicates matters for those who wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against the authority and seek compensation. Most states have statutes that protect state and local governments from lawsuits, making it harder for victims to sue.
Moreover, even if you are allowed to sue a public entity, you may have a battle on your hands, including short deadlines and additional paperwork. Depending on where you live, you may have to file a “notice of claim” against the transport authority in as little as a few days to retain your right to sue.
After a subway accident, the best course of action is to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to determine your legal options and the best way forward. Morgan & Morgan’s tenacious subway accident attorneys can handle the necessary paperwork and ensure that you are not missing any deadlines for filing a lawsuit in your state.
Subway Accident Compensation
Since every subway accident claim is unique, there is no average settlement for injured victims. However, depending on your case, you could qualify for the following damages and others:
If you win your lawsuit, you could be entitled to reimbursement for all past and current medical treatment in connection with the accident. In addition, you could qualify for amounts to cover future medical costs for your subway accident injuries. Healthcare expenses include hospitalizations, medications, surgeries, a home-health aide, and more.
If you suffered a significant injury and had to take time off work, you could qualify for damages for the accident's impact on your past and current income. Compensation for income loss can also include wages that you were due to receive in the future had you not suffered an injury that prevented you from working.
Pain and Anguish
If you suffered a significant injury and had to undergo medical treatments, you most likely experienced considerable physical pain and suffering. Victims are generally entitled to payouts for discomfort and pain.
Loss of Life Enjoyment
Victims who suffered catastrophic and disabling injuries may find their lives changed beyond recognition. If you can no longer participate in activities and hobbies you previously enjoyed, you could receive damages for "loss of enjoyment.”
Witnessing a catastrophic subway accident with fatalities or suffering from disabling injuries can cause unimaginable emotional suffering for victims. Damages for emotional distress intend to compensate victims for their mental suffering, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and others.
Punitive damages are rare in personal injury claims. However, when a defendant's conduct was grossly negligent or particularly egregious, a court may award punitive damages to the victim.
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Could I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit if My Loved One Died in a Subway Accident?
In New York City’s subway system alone, 63 people died in 2020, according to The City.
If you lost a loved one due to a slip and fall, crime, or another incident, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit and pursue compensation. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you could recover damages, such as:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses before the decedent’s passing
- Pain and suffering before death
- Loss of companionship and parental guidance
- Loss of income and benefits from the deceased
In most states, the executor of the estate of the deceased is responsible for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Short deadlines may apply if you are suing a public entity such as a subway operator. If you believe you have a wrongful death claim, contact an attorney promptly to determine your next best steps.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Subway Accident Claim?
If a subway authority’s negligence is responsible for your accident, you would be suing the government in most cases and could face numerous obstacles trying to receive your due. Moreover, federal and state laws dealing with subway safety and negligence issues are complex. Without an experienced and determined lawyer by your side, you could make a mistake when filing the lawsuit or risk leaving money on the table in settlement negotiations.
Why go it alone when you could have America’s largest personal injury firm in your corner? Morgan & Morgan can be here for subway accident victims. We can assess your case, calculate your losses, and fight for what you need to rebuild your life after a subway accident injury.
Do I Have to Go to Court for a Subway Accident Lawsuit?
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), most personal injury claims settle with an out-of-court payout. Therefore, most personal injury claimants never see the inside of a courtroom. However, some claims make it all the way to a trial, and there is no way to tell at the outset whether your case will settle out of court.
However, having an experienced attorney from Morgan & Morgan by your side can provide reassurance in both scenarios. Your lawyer knows how to negotiate a fair and comprehensive settlement and can fight tirelessly for what you deserve in court, if necessary.
How Much Does a Subway Accident Lawyer Cost?
Personal injury attorneys such as those litigating subway accidents generally work on “contingency,” meaning they do not get paid unless and until they win your case. However, you could still be on the hook for any upfront legal expenses, such as:
- Costs of investigating the subway accident
- Fees for pulling official documents
- Expert witness pay
- Court filing fees
- Deposition expenses
- Mailing costs
In some cases, these miscellaneous legal expenses can amount to thousands of dollars.
Morgan & Morgan believes that injured victims and their families deserve the best legal representation, regardless of their financial situations. We understand that money can be tight when individuals are recovering from injuries and are unable to work and provide for their families. Therefore, you pay nothing unless and until we recover compensation.
Contact Us for Help With Your Subway Accident Today
Getting severely injured in a subway accident can throw your life off course. However, if someone else is responsible, they should make you whole again. If you are involved in a subway accident, you could sue and recover compensation. Morgan & Morgan is here for you. We fight hard for injured victims. Contact us today for a free case review to determine whether you qualify for compensation.